Originally Posted by fooman
Thanks for the fantastic answer!
I'd like to add to the conversation by asking if you are ever taken out of the session psychologically by something seeming 'wrong' on your newly built console... or perhaps it didn't respond or sound the way you expected it to and it throws you off. You are personally tied to it, obviously!
I just would be so into a personally-built piece of gear (let alone the heart of my control room) that if something where to happen that seemed out-of-place it'd take my mind off of the work I was doing with the artist!
Thanks for your insights.
Another good question. After 5 years of anticipation, it would have been very easy for the console to be distracting. I can't recall any moments when the console took me out of the moment, but I had a lot of time to get that out of my system leading up to the TBS record. The console was up and running earlier in 2010. There was no way I could jump straight into a full on album project. The console definitely would have been too distracting. I invited a band (The Noises 10) to come in and test drive the thing. They were an unsigned band and could use the opportunity to get recordings of some new material. They are friends, I have worked with them before and I explained to them they would be guinea pigs on this round. This song was the very first thing ever recorded and mixed on the console.
(This drum part is a little deceiving because it was recorded specifically to have a live drummer sound like a drum loop. The drum part is entirely a live performance and there are no samples on it… and yes there are 3 different hihats setup on the drum kit) http://undertoneaudio.com/Audio/LID.mix.unmastered.wav
I felt relieved when it was done. If the first thing done on that console wasn't immediately satisfying for me in some way or another, it would have been difficult psychologically for sure. I had been mixing a lot in the box and or using various versions of hybrid mixing leading up to this and that style of mixing for me has always been uncomfortable. I am just used to using a console when I mix. This first recording sort of confirmed for me that I need to use a console to get the kind of size, separation and openness I feel like I had been able to get in the past without really thinking about it.
Even with a considerable warm up period I still had to be very deliberate about shifting gears when I started the TBS record. I literally had this conversation with myself… "I am done messing with this console for this project. Wherever it is at now will work great for this project and I am not going to f*** with it until after its done." It was one of the more Stewart Smalley-esque moments I've had in my life. I didn't want to be overly fixated on just the sound of the console while working on the TBS record. I feel there are 3 significant aspects to making records and I have always tried to prioritize them in this order:
It just seems that all the cool mic pres, EQs and compressors in the world can't make up for a shitty song or crappy playing. Where as, when the first 2 are right, it seems you can get away with whatever on the 3rd sometimes. Here's the catch though, and why I think we all enjoy spending our time on an online forum called Gearslutz, When all 3 elements (composition, performance AND SOUND) are there and are executed the best they can be, then you have one of those timeless amazing bench mark records ala Zep IV, Dark Side, Back In Black, Song In The key Of Life, Off The Wall etc. Not that I put any of the records I have worked on in that category. I just feel like that is type of experience we are all chasing. Weather I have ever achieved that or not, that is what I am shooting for every time I start a recording project.